How do you improve your relationship? By treating it like you treat your investments.
We all know the stages a relationship goes through. During the first stage, we are blissfully happy with our new partner. The dates are exciting, and we don’t have eyes for anyone else. Literally nothing they do annoys us, and we can’t wait to move in with them.
Eventually, we get a place together. We start planning holidays, careers and we even start talking about kids. Life couldn’t be better, and any “arguments” we have are just mere disagreements. We wish he’d flush the toilet seat, but hey ho! It is what it is.
Then we get married. The honeymoon abroad is spectacular, and when we return even going back to work doesn’t knock us out of our stride because we’ve got our first child on the way.
But as the months and years pass by, things start to become tense and monotonous. There are more silly arguments than ever. We argue over small, petty things. The fact that he still doesn’t flush the toilet is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many things he doesn’t do, and when we see that toilet not flushed, we flip and launch into a tirade:
“You don’t do this, you don’t do that, you’ve never done this …”
We become swamped by negativity. Everything becomes routine and it gets suffocating.
Even the weekend doesn’t offer us any respite. We both work long hours, and all we’re good for at the weekend is PJ’s and chill.
Sometimes he goes off playing golf with his buddies which annoys us, but other than that every single Saturday and Sunday is the exact same.
Is it any wonder divorce rates are so high?
The thing is that we all know these stages so well, and yet some of us have learned how to manage a relationship so that it almost always remains passionate, exciting and – above all else – happy.
And we do this by treating our relationship like we would our investments.
You know that your investments have good period and bad ones. Sometimes, your stock is doing well and you’re making good money. And sometimes it isn’t doing so well, and you’re not making much money at all.
It’s the same with a bank account. Sometimes out outgoings exceed our incoming, but sometimes it’s (fortunately!) the other way around.
We know that continuos negative transactions will land us in the mire. We’ll be permanently in the red, and in debt. Things will get so bad that we’ll eventually have to close the account.
To make sure that this doesn’t happen, a proactive approach is needed. We need to make sure that there more positive transactions than negative ones – more wins than losses.
This requires understanding and bravery, and it also requires you to hone your financial management game so that you don’t make silly mistakes that could leave you desperately and hopelessly in the red.
The Perils Of Instant Gratification
Let’s forget about bank accounts for the moment and focus on the investments analogy.
Let’s imagine that you collect cars. They’ve been your passion since you were a teenager, and nobody is going to take that passion away from you.
As you will know – as a collector of cars – that cars are always an item of debt unless they’re a collectors item or an otherwise rare car. In which case, they’re seen as an asset.
Nobody makes their money back from a “regular” brand new car, not even if it’s a Mercedes. All cars depreciate, some worse than others. You can expect your brand new car to be worth only 40% of its initial value after three years at best.
Let’s imagine that you were so in love with cars that you were blind to the fact that they were costing you a lot of money. You were buying brand new Porsche’s and Mercedes’, not caring that after three years they’d be pretty much worthless. You sought instant gratification and you got it. You felt good.
You might be finding it hard to spot the analogy between relationships and investing in cars, but with a bit of imagination you can do it.
Let’s broaden your interests. In your twenties, you were passionate about fast, expensive cars that gave you short-term pleasure. You also enjoyed going to nightclubs, splashing out on vacations in the south of France and generally living for the moment. You didn’t care to think twice about your future – that could wait. You were having too much fun.
As a consequence, you weren’t building concrete structures that would last. You were building sandcastles on golden beaches that you kicked over as soon as you were done with them.
Many of us are similar. We spend our twenties partying, and only start seriously thinking about our future when we hit our thirties.
Some of us even wait until we’re in our forties.
However, for those of us who have been in a relationship for most of our adult lives, it’s important that we treat our relationship like an investment.
This isn’t a crude way of putting things – far from it. When you invest in something, you plan for the long-term. To get anything out of it, you have to put a lot into it – effort, time and soul.
And you have to keep working on your investments. If you don’t, you’ll lose.
It’s the same when you invest in yourself. You buy books to become the best at something. You spend time practising until you know it off by heart.
What you put into something is always reflected by what you get out of it. If you eat junk food, don’t exercise and never read, your life will reflect that. By the time you’re fifty, you’ll likely be at serious risk of chronic disease, out of shape, exhausted and lacking in wisdom.
It’s the same when you invest in the stock market. If you take the time to analyse and understand the markets, you have a better chance of winning.
And it’s the same with your relationship. Unless you’re prepare to commit and work hard over the long-term, it will fizzle out.
Relationships only lose their passion and excitement when we let them. Don’t let this happen to yours. It’s NOT a natural occurrence.